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And this is how Wikipedia attains impartiality

By Aleksander Boyd

London 11.01.06 | For some time now I have been extremely wary of the stuff that Wikipedia publishes. The fact that anyone from anywhere can log in and contribute, modify or, simply, create content is, although extremely democratic, highly suspect. The page of Hugo Chavez has undergone a thorough face lift. The PSFs (Pendejos Sin Fronteras otherwise known as the international armchair revolutionaries that can't get enough of Chavez) having discovered such a facility, are having such an incredibly wonderful time by reinventing Venezuelan history. I took issue with Wikipedia long time ago and decided to write to its creator Jimmy Wales. Enclosed an email exchange followed by some additional information.

From: alek boyd
To: jwales@bomis.com
Date: 03/10/2004 20:45
Subject: Links to my site in Wikipedia

To whom it may concern,

Since the 'editors' of your pages keep deleting away comments that do not meet their political criteria, I demand for all the links pointing at my site to me removed immediately and permanently from your pages. Should you have a problem locating them do visit the pages about neo-fascist Hugo Chavez.

I am not interested in the slightest in contributing with a politically partisan encyclopediae.

From: jwales@wikia.com
To: alek boyd
Date: 04/10/2004 04:50
Subject: Re: Links to my site in Wikipedia

We have strict policies against political partisanship, and I am personally no fan of Chavez, so if you can point me to a particular link to illustrate what you are talking about I can perhaps help.

From: alek boyd
To: jwales@wikia.com
Date: 04/10/2004 09:39
Subject: Re: Links to my site in Wikipedia

I have tried in countless ocassions to edit the page of Hugo Chavez, only to see how my editions time ang again are deleted. The latest edition that I have made is in regards to the comment vis-a-vis the propagandistic film The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, so prominently praised in the page. There's an ongoing legal dispute over the film with the BBC and Venezuelan film experts have documented evidence of the misleading and factually inaccurate content of the film. Besides what's the relevance of commenting upon a film given the tragedy that unfolded? I see no comments in regards to the fact that due to the actions of that day Hugo Chavez and 22 of his closest collaborators have been sued before the International Criminal Court for "crimes against humanity" whose chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo has met in four ocassions already with Mohamad Merhi (father of a vicitim, victim himself and representative of others). Furthermore the Spanish National Audience ruled that there existed enough grounds to prosecute Chavez, but declined to do so for economic and political reasons.

I am also shocked to see how many subjectives and factually incorrect comments are made. The whole section [2004: yet another coup...] is plain nonsense for to this day the government is yet to show proof of the alleged plot. Moreover National Assemblymen Roger Rondon has got documents and evidence of the direct involvement of high government officials in the contracting and transport of the Colombian peasants from San Antonio and San Cristobal [Tachira state] to Caracas. The Colombians were caught by the municipal police of Baruta wearing Venezuelan military fatigues unarmed. No weapons were found in Alonso's farm, who by this stage was living outside the country for at least 4 months. In sum utter nonsense supported by an article from the Green Left???

Another point that strikes me is the general ignorance shown by those who contribute and edit the page. All the violations to the constitution done by Chavez & Co are conveniently left out. Human rights violations, political prisoners, state sponsored terrorism, extra judicial killings, does those themes not merit the attention of a wider audience?

My second message was not replied, but roughly two months after I wrote again.

From: alek boyd
To: jwales@wikia.com
Date: 10/12/2004 14:01
Subject: Hugo Chavez in Wikipedia

Jimbo,

I just edited part of the paragraph on the 'coup' in Venezuela. I enclosed what I wrote, together with links for there seems to be a well orchestrated campaign to lie and deceive about what truly happened in Venezuela in April 2002.

Chávez was briefly deposed and arrested after the top commanders of the army decided to disobey his order to implement "Plan Avila", emergency military plan which sought to deploy troops to placate a huge rally heading for Miraflores. On April 12, 2002, after commander in chief Lucas Rincon Romero announced to the nation that Chavez had resigned (http://www.11abril.com/index/videos/abril_2002_1.asp), Fedecámaras president Pedro Carmona was appointed by the military ("Junta Militar") as interim president. This event generated a widespread uprising in support of Chávez that was repressed by the Metropolitan Police. A sentence (http://www.tsj.gov.ve/decisiones/tplen/agosto/sentencia%20de%20los%20militares.htm) of the Plenary Hall of Venezuela's Sureme Tribunal of Justice acquitted the generals in charge of the alleged 'coup' establishing that what took place was not a 'coup' but a "vaccum of power" that had been generated by the announcement of Chavez' resignation made by Gral. Lucas Rincon Romero. According to an arrest notice contained in the sentence Chavez was not held in a secret place but in a cell in Fort Tiuna. The unconstitutional actions of Pedro Carmona, led the very same military command to remove him and devolve power to Chavez.

From: jwales@wikia.com
To: alek boyd
Date: 10/12/2004 14:54
Subject: Re: Hugo Chavez in Wikipedia

I don't personally get involved in editing very much, but I'll try to keep an eye on this. Thanks so much for your work.

After a year I sent Jimbo Wales another message.

From: alek boyd
To: jwales@wikia.com
Date: 10/12/2004 14:01
Subject: Hugo Chavez in Wikipedia

Hi Jimmy,

I have noticed that the Wikipedia page on Hugo Chavez has been, extensively, revamped. Although I welcome the work done very much, given the late developments, the recurrent bias in favour of Chavez and his pseudo revolution does worry me. If you see the amount of citations of voices openly partisan to Chavez, the obliteration of facts and the impossibility of maintaining these on the page for long, you can easily conclude that the page -and all others related to Chavez and Venezuela- are but an exercise in peddling political propaganda.

You wrote to me on October 4th last year that you had strict policies against political partisanship, ergo I consider fitting to make a reminder of these remarks and ask you to revise the 'story' of Hugo Chavez.

Cordially, A. Boyd. [End of messages]

The same message was re-sent two days after, alas Jimbo has not replied. So I took it upon myself and head for the 'discussion' page where different contributors debate upon the issues. My concerns could be summarised thusly:

Count the number of avowed chavistas among the cited sources (some even in Chavez's payroll or recipients of his hospitality). Such exercise gives a clear picture of the article's objectivity. Indeed "Wikipedia at its best."

As I knew, many contributors are not even Venezuelan citizens, but rather misinformed people opining about a topic they haven't got the slightest clue about beyond the obvious infatuation for Castro's lapdog. However the worrying aspect is that a frequent collaborator of Chavez apologist Daniel Burnett -known as 'Pulpo'- has had the gall to even boast about his contributions to Wikipedia*:

I wish, at this time to apologize for my absence to all, but primarily to Slave and to OW.

I noticed in my readings accolades afforded to regulalr contibutors to this forum by a certian "annonymous" mentioning the circle of friends that make OilWars what it is. Absent from those accollades was one Octopus. The apparent snub was later realized by the apparent victim of such, as one of lack of contribution, and no blame is caste on any identities.

My absence was due to the crucial and important duty of changing the content on all things relevent to a Chavista point of view on the leading internet point of reference, the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

Such a monumental effort im sure can be appreciated by all, and absence due to calls of duty of the Venezuelan government (despite being Puertorriqueño certainly come prior to minimal contributions to this blog. Im willing to share my extra case of guisky - anyone? Or perhpas you'd prefer coffee? Where did i put my bottle of Baileys?

So the question remains. In light of such an obvious manipulation of facts, the very many sources directly funded or related to the Chavez regime, the lack of accuracy and the rather evident bias of the article; how can Wikipedia claim to upheld a publishing policy spousing 'absolute and non-negotiable neutral points of view'? The chutzpah of some...

*no need to erase comments Burnett, I've saved them for future reference.



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